In November we were thrilled to host a special invitation-only event for FANZA’s most loyal supporters and friends at the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery in London.
After taking in the stunning tapa cloth from Papua New Guinea, a vertiginous climb up the spiral staircase led to a specially curated exhibition of works from Rebecca’s private collection – hung for one night only.
Matthew Sturgis gave a wonderfully insightful and almost lyrical talk as he moved from exhibit to exhibit, exploring each painting’s provenance and meaning.
Starting with a beautiful watercolour by Albert Namatjira – the first Aboriginal to be formally recognised as an Australian citizen – Matthew highlighted how the artist mimicked the colonists’ style and medium as a way of becoming established. He then demonstrated how the contemporary Aboriginal artists on display – Noli Rictor, Lennard Walker, Byron Brooks, Ian Rictor and Puuni Brown Nungarrayi – conveyed location, conditions and their personal story within their art. The paintings of Niuean-born New Zealand artist John Pule were a similarly autobiographical journey through displacement, distance, culture, faith and loss.
FANZA trustee Karyl Nairn then spoke briefly about FANZA’s support of our artistic communities, highlighting some of the artists we’ve championed this year – Australian cabaret performer Dolly Diamond, New Zealand operatic baritone Kieran Rayner, Australian photographer Vee Speers and Australian theatre writer and performer Sam Harrison – and played their recorded video messages.
“I am so grateful to be supported by FANZA. I wrote my own show, Love is Only Love, about growing up in Australia and the UK and finding love. FANZA created a very special event which introduced me to a whole new audience.” – Sam Harrison, recently RSC Stratford and Chichester Festival Theatre.
Vee Speers’ retrospective exhibition, Metamorphosis, was held at the London Photographers’ Gallery in the summer: “It was a very touching and emotional experience for me to be selected by FANZA. I so appreciated all the support, it was wonderful. It was really phenomenal for me and important for my career.”
Kieran Rayner spoke from the Royal Opera House while rehearsing for his role in the ROH’s current production of The Rape of Lucretia: “It’s my debut here and I’m super excited. I sang for FANZA earlier this year in London with Lotte Betts-Dean and Joseph Havlat – a FANZA Classica concert of songs from Australia, New Zealand and Britain. I’m very appreciative of FANZA and all the work they do, we couldn’t have done it without them.”
Huge thanks to everyone who helped make the evening such a success – especially Rebecca and her fabulous gallery team, Matthew for his brilliant talk, Patricia/Where the Pancakes Are for delicious (and substantial) nibbles, Karyl for providing the nonstop flow of wine and Monty and Baxter for the faultless tech.